Newspoke is more than just a band. They’re an art form.
The members keep their true identities secret and go instead simply by M and R. BTRtoday spoke with the mysterious “M,” who says the anonymity was not intentional at first. The band eventually grew to appreciate the mystery and are now intent on keeping Newspoke a musical project without an image or real world identity.
“I think when you’re putting out songs all of these are personal and they all have personal stories for us,” M tells BTRtoday. “I guess it puts up a shield for you to be more honest … We’re in an age of oversharing, so we think it allows us more to focus on the songs and what we’re doing and the music behind it.”
Their debut album, Faces, tells stories about life, death and redemption. “Judas Tree” is an eerie song that sings tongue-in-cheek about the worst person they know “descending into the darker rings of hell.” The video features a slow descent into a grave tended by faceless gravediggers. M likes the final product but says it doesn’t reflect the song’s inherent humor.
“The video came out way scarier than we thought it was going to come out—it’s visually interesting, but I don’t think we’re dark people or that the music’s dark,” M says. “You write stuff musically and lyrically during difficult times, but I would like to think there’s an overlying theme of redemption and fighting back.”
Though Faces is filled with songs that bring you down before lifting you up, M spoke with excitement and kindness in his voice.
“It’s taken a hell of a long time to get this [Faces] together,” he says. “It’s exciting and fun and so far the feedback has been good, beyond anything that what we could have ever expected for most songs written in a bedroom.”
The album is only seven tracks and under 30 minutes—a deliberate choice by a group that values brevity. “I don’t remember the last time I listened to something past track number 10,” M says. “We don’t see the point of putting out something that’s more than seven to ten songs—I think we will stick to this number in the future.”
Though faceless, the album paints an eclectic and tragically beautiful picture of who Newspoke could be. Like an author’s pen name, Newspoke is letting their art describe who they are. Lyrics like “I did my best” and “cheers, we’ll toast to all our ghosts” sang along to piano and violin playing smoothly to swift staccato drumbeats and strums of the guitar paints a fragile artist with many faces—hence the album name Faces.
Listen to Faces in full and the entire interview with Newspoke on this week’s The Music Meetup.